The Chicago Sun Times is a dying newspaper. That notion is really unfortunate because the Sun Times does have at least one good NFL columnist in Sean Jensen, and Gordon Wittenmyer does offer credible information in relation to the Cubs from time to time. But the solid efforts by Jensen and Wittenmyer are often overlooked. May be the time has come for Wittenmyer and Jensen to seek employment elsewhere, the same way Brad Briggs–now of the Chicago Tribune–did. One of the reasons why the Sun Times may be considered as a dying newspaper is because of offerings like the one Rick Morrissey had this week.
With starting middle linebacker Brian Urlacher likely missing the remainder of the regular season for the Chicago Bears, the speculation has started on what the future has in store for not only Urlacher, but head coach Love Smith if the Bears were to miss the playoffs. If Morrissey is to be believed, there should be no speculation. Morrissey wrote for the Chicago Sun Times this week that both Urlacher and Smith will return to the Bears in 2013.
How does Morrissey reach this conclusion? Well here is how the Sun Times’ writer opened his article:
Whether or not Brian Urlacher returns from a hamstring injury this year, he’ll be a Bear next season. That comes from highly placed sources inside my head. Chicago Sun Times
It was at that point that I realized that I should of treated this latest column by Morrissey, like I did with all of his previous columns, that is by skipping over it. But I was willing to give the Morrissey the benefit of the doubt, though after reading why he thought Smith would return for the 2013 season, I regretted that decision.
So, no, I don’t believe Urlacher is going anywhere, for the same reason I don’t believe coach Lovie Smith is going anywhere, even if the Bears fail to make the playoffs after their 7-1 start. Chicago Sun Times
I understand that this is the gut feeling that Morrissey has, and to be honest, if he was writing for Da Windy City that would be an acceptable article. But the fact remains that Morrissey is writing for the Chicago Sun Times. It may not be fair, but Morrissey’s articles should have some form of credibility. Because the chances are that there will be/was one individual that read his article, and then mistakenly thought that the Bears have already made a decision on the future of Urlacher and Smith. One’s opinion or thoughts should be not be considered as credible information.
Here is Morrissey’s reasoning for believing that Urlacher will return in 2013:
The idea that the team would allow a beloved future Hall of Famer to walk via free agency? No. Not when it thinks there are fans’ heartstrings to pluck. And not when the market for beaten-up, 34-year-old linebackers figures to be less than vibrant. Chicago Sun Times
Morrissey may have forgotten what transpired between the Bears and a beloved player one year ago before the 2011 season started, hell, that player could be considered as a future hall of famer as well. That player is former Bears’ center Olin Kreutz. Kreutz was without a contract when the Bears entered training camp–albeit a late one as a result of the strike–and the Bears did not give in to the demands of Kreutz, who was not only a favorite among the Bears’ fan base but considered to be a respected leader within the locker room. The Bears made the wise business decision in letting Kreutz walk. Kreutz signed with the New Orleans Saints, however, the veteran center essentially walked away from the Saints after week 4 of the 2o11 season and retired. The the Bears’ handling of Kreutz has set the precedent that the Bears are capable of going with the business decision over the fan sentiment.
As for Lovie Smith, Morrissey believes that general manager Phil Emery will concede the decision to Bears’ President Ted Phillips.
The flaw in all of this is the idea that Emery has autonomy. I’ll believe it when push comes to shoving Lovie out the door. Until then, I’ll believe he’ll do what everybody else does when a major decision needs to be made at Halas Hall: He’ll look to president Ted Phillips, who will look to chairman George McCaskey, who will look to family matriarch Virginia McCaskey, who will look beatifically on Lovie and Brian and not want to lose her “kids.’’ Chicago Sun Times
The problem with Morrissey’s reasoning is that Phillips has already sent an ultimatum for Smith. When Emery was hired, Phillips announced to the entire world that Emery had to retain Smith for at least the 2012 season. Phillips also indicated that Smith would likely be fired if the Bears’ failed to make the playoffs in 2012. As of this post, the Bears will likely be in the playoffs. But, that notion could change suddenly if Bears’ drop this Sunday’s game to the Minnesota Vikings. So even if Morrissey proves to be correct in saying that Emery would concede to Phillips in determining the fate of Smith, the Bears’ President has already indicated that Smith would be fired if the Bears’ miss the playoffs in 2012. Family or not, the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately?” type of business, and lately, Smith has fallen just short of the playoffs. If that happens this season, then the Bears will be looking for a new head coach. Maybe then we can turn to Morrissey and his head sources in trying to pinpoint who the next head coach of the Bears will be.